Update on the Maya Site of Sak Tz’i

September 13, 2022

Three years ago, a team of researchers located the site of Sak Tz’i (White Dog in English). It was colonized by 750 BCE. The team used LIDAR in 2019 to scout out the possible site and found it was a large unknown Maya site. There was a two year Covid deal before the site could be excavated. They have found the site was heavily fortified with stone barricades and wooden palisades. The site was mentioned in doorways lintels at Bonampak in which captives from the site were shown defeated and humiliated.

In 2019, while excavating the ball court, they unearthed a stone altar. Beneath the altar he found the spear point as well as obsidian blades, spiny oyster shells and fragments of greenstone. In Maya cosmology flint connoted warfare and the sun or sky; obsidian, darkness and sacrifice. Oyster shells and greenstone were equated with life, vitality and solar rebirth in the sea.

A 2-by-4-foot wall panel dated to 775 A.D. revealed tales of battles, rituals, a legendary flood and a fantastical water serpent described in poetic couplets as “shiny sky, shiny earth.”

“The glyphs highlight the lives of dynastic rulers such as K’ab Kante’, including when each one died, how they were memorialized and under what circumstances their successors came to the throne. In one glyph, the Sak Tz’i’ ruler appears as the dancing Yopaat, a divinity associated with violent tropical storms. The ax in his right hand is a lightning bolt, the snake-footed deity K’awiil; in his left he carries a “manopla,” a stone club used in ritual combat. The missing panel is presumed to have featured a prisoner of war, kneeling in supplication to Yopaat.”

The NY Times has the report here: